Eggs beyond breakfast
By Treena HeinFeatures Business & Policy Emerging Trends annex Business/Policy Canada Company News Consumer trends Egg production
All-day trend a boon for producers.
How time flies – it’s been a year since two major fast food chains introduced all-day breakfast (ADB) in Canada.
Both McDonald’s Canada and A&W say they began offering breakfast items throughout the day because of strong customer demand. McDonald’s Canada spokesperson Kristen Hunter explains that, “In 2016, ADB was one of the top requests we heard from our guests, with thousands of people tweeting us. After testing the concept in several restaurants, we launched ADB nationwide in February 2017. We’re proud that ADB is still going strong and offered in the majority of [our] restaurants across the country.”
If McDonald’s experience is any indication, the all-day trend has been a boon for egg producers. The company says since introducing ADB it sources 25 per cent more eggs from Canadian farmers.
The restaurant’s ADB menu includes four McMuffin breakfast sandwiches, three of which contain eggs: Egg, Bacon ‘N Egg and Sausage ‘N Egg.
A&W’s story is similar. The firm’s senior director of marketing Tom Newitt says, “We take pride in not only listening to our customers but following through with their requests. We introduced our ADB menu a year ago and the response from millennials in particular has been incredible.”
The menu has remained three breakfast sandwiches, all with eggs: Bacon & Eggers, Sausage & Eggers and Cheese & Eggers.
There are many major U.S. chains that offer ADB, including McDonald’s USA, White Castle, Sonic, Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Dunkin’ Donuts, Golden Corral, Denny’s, IHOP, Cracker Barrel and Bob Evans. There are also thousands of independent restaurants and regional chains that offer it in North America and beyond. Indeed, Google search ‘all day breakfast near me’ and you’ll get a staggering nine million results.
Although other Canadian chains like Burger King and Tim Horton’s show no interest in serving breakfast outside morning hours, Quebec-based Cora’s went the other way from the start. The franchise empire was started in May 1987, when Cora Mussely Tsouflidou bought a small diner in Montreal. Within a few months, she decided to make breakfasts her specialty.
Breakfast and lunch dishes are served at Cora’s during all operating hours, from morning until mid-afternoon.
Today, there are over 130 Cora’s across Canada serving a million guests a month. The ‘Eggquis’ restaurant chain, which started in 1995, has followed a similar strategy. It currently has approximately 40 locations in Quebec (mostly) and Ontario.
Craving breakfast all day
Why do consumers want breakfast items all day and night? According to a recent survey by Technomic mentioned on the website of the American Egg Board (AEB), one reason is a simple fondness for breakfast foods.
Approximately 54 per cent of consumers surveyed enjoyed eating breakfast foods at non-traditional times, a 12.5 per cent increase over 2013. “We also love our eggs,” states the AEB. “To our moods and taste buds, they’re warm, satisfying and have great flavour and a silky mouthfeel.
“Combine that with decreasing numbers of consumers living traditional nine-to-five lifestyles and the impact of millennials’ whatever/whenever approach to eating has had on many of our habits, and you’ve got a teeming mass of humanity looking for breakfast at non-traditional times.”
For her part, Margaret Hudson, president of Burnbrae Farms (the sole egg supplier for McDonald’s Canada), believes part of the reason people enjoy eggs in ADB meals is that they are seeking healthy protein more often.
“Eggs provide complete protein in the most convenient and affordable format,” Hudson says.
“People enjoy breakfast offerings with eggs, but often don’t take the time to eat them in the morning, so they are now seeking them at other times of the day.”
To address this trend, Burnbrae Farms now offers snack packs of two hardboiled eggs in their EGGS2go! product, which come in omega-3 and a variety of flavours like dill and hot sauce.
To make a quick anytime meal with eggs, they also offer Egg Creations, flavoured omelette mixes and EGG Bakes! pre-cooked crustless quiches, which take only 90 seconds in the microwave. EGG Bakes! Flavours include spinach, ricotta & caramelized onion and cheddar, mushroom & bacon.
AEB points to new uses for eggs as another factor in egg consumption outside breakfast hours. For example, many restaurants now top burgers with eggs, such as Appleby’s All-day Brunch Burger, which is topped with a fried egg, bacon, onion, hash browns and cheese. Egg are also showing up on menus and in countless recipes as a pizza topping, the star ingredient in bowls and much more. On its website, Egg Farmers of Canada now features many beyond-breakfast recipe categories such as salads and BBQ (think eggs grilled in sweet peppers, portobello mushroom caps and avocado shells, on their own or in a mixture).
Also, in its recently-released Egg-Centric Culinary Trends for 2018, Egg Farmers of Canada lists many new global food trends in which eggs shine. One features a growing interest in Japanese dishes. Eggs are found, for example, in the small omelettes that form part of a traditional Japanese small-dish breakfast meal.
Other ethnic dishes continue to be another hot trend, with one popular example being shakshuka, poached eggs in a tomato sauce with onions, peppers and cumin.
Another trend is cloud eggs, where egg whites are whipped until stiff and used in a variety of ways, such as placing them on bread or another food base and baking them briefly with the yolk nestled in the centre.
One more hot culinary trend for 2018 is the concept of the late-night fourth meal, this is increasingly popular with busy and active families, and one in which eggs often star as a convenient and healthy ingredient.
Indeed, the numbers show ADB was a hit for McDonald’s and for egg production. Who contributed most to the restaurant’s demand for 35 million more eggs? That would be an outlet in Regina.
McDonald’s also looking to boost chicken consumption
McDonald’s also has big plans for it’s other poultry offering – chicken. The restaurant is rolling out more chicken menu items all the time – including items similar to those offered by Chick-Fil-A, a chicken-centred U.S. fast food chain. According to Bloomberg News, Chick-fil-A generated US$4.41 million per U.S. restaurant location in 2016, compared to US$2.55 million for each McDonald’s outlet, so it’s clear why McDonald’s is going this route.
McDonald’s now offers three Southern-style chicken menu items that sport a breading similar to that used by Chick-fil-A – its Buttermilk Crispy Chicken sandwich, Sweet BBQ Bacon with Buttermilk Crispy Chicken sandwich and Buttermilk Crispy Tenders. Business Insider reports that after the Buttermilk Crispy Tenders were introduced last October in the U.S., they were so popular that some locations ran out by December.
Other McDonald’s chicken menu items stateside currently include McNuggets, five salads (Southwest, Caesar and more) and many sandwiches (Chicken Mexicano, Grand Chicken Special, Grand Chicken Deluxe, Grand Chicken Spicy, Grand Chicken Classic, McArabia [two Halal patties with toppings and a garlic sauce on Arabic bread], Chicken Mac [with two patties and three bun parts, similar to a Big Mac], McChicken, Spicy McChicken, Chicken Burger, Chicken Burger Deluxe, Sweet BBQ Bacon with Artisan Grilled Chicken, Artisan Grilled Chicken and Pico Guacamole with Artisan Grilled Chicken).
However, Bloomberg News believes that McDonald’s may be preparing to produce chicken items even more like Chick-Fil-A, using some kind of pressure-frying preparation method. The move was mentioned in a recent three-year chicken product growth plan that Bloomberg News obtained, presented by the company to franchisees (who operate about 90 percent of McDonald’s U.S. locations). Several media outlets have asked McDonald’s to confirm these plans, but so far, no comments are forthcoming.
Other fast food chains such as Burger King are also trying to liven up their chicken items. Burger King updated its chicken sandwich last year and the company says it’s been well-received. However, Burger-centred Shake Shack recently tried out a new Chick’N Club Sandwich, but reviewers have panned it.
February 21st marked the one year anniversary of all-day breakfast at McDonald’s Canada. To celebrate, it shared some fun facts:
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